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Focused distributors: strive to customize; In the face of competition from international giants,.

Focused distributors: strive to customize; In the face of competition from international giants, a few small distributors try to survive by carving out market niches.

During tough times in the IT industry, how do smaller players stay in business and differentiate themselves from broadline distributors? For them, success is a matter of focus on product sets, on service and on specialization. Taknology, for example, started out as a printer distributor in 1992 and has stayed within the peripherals group, distributing scanners, monitors, digital cameras, projectors, supplies and accessories.Its goal is not to sell everything to everyone, but to stay focused on complementary product groups.
"We don't want to compete with the Ingram Micros and the Tech Datas of the world," says Ken Harper, marketing manager for Taknology (Canada) Inc. in Richmond Hill, Ont. Instead, it targets smaller VARs who may not be able to meet the minimum purchase requirements of a broadline distributor.VARs only have to spend a minimum of $100 per order, he says, and it will waive that for a $10 handling fee. It also makes it easy for dealers to pick up their own orders at its three offices across the country, with a turnaround time of only 10 minutes.

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